LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posed for a selfie with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and talked up ties between their two countries Saturday, the last day of his three-day swing through California, as he continued to promote the idea that the North American Free Trade Agreement should not be abandoned.
On Saturday morning, Trudeau fielded questions on NAFTA, immigration and President Donald Trump while appearing with Garcetti at the Griffith Observatory. Both men, casually dressed, spoke to reporters in English, French and Spanish before taking a hike through Griffith Park.
“We know that renegotiating NAFTA involves a lot of different moving parts and is important to get right,” Trudeau said. “And that’s why we’ve engaged in a spirit of compromise and firmness at the same time, and thoughtful engagement to ensure we can move forward in a way that is a win-win for all of us. We do not believe that trade deals should be or even can be win losses.”
Trudeau also spoke positively about his relationship with Trump.
“I think people have noticed that I continue to engage regularly and constructively with President Trump as well,” Trudeau said. “There’s things we don’t agree on, but there’s a lot we do agree on as well… Working together to ensure that the middle class does better in both of our countries is a goal that both of us got elected on.”
Garcetti warmly welcomed Trudeau to L.A. and said that Canada was a major trading partner for the city.
“It’s very important for us in this moment, when there is so much supposed division in the world to reinsure that there is friendship and strength,” Garcetti said. “We see friendship as a strength and conflict as a weakness.”
Meanwhile, Trudeau also discussed Canada’s immigration policies.
“Canada is a country that is open to immigration because we have a strong immigration system that Canadians rely on,” Trudeau said. “If people come to our country seeking asylum because they’re refugees, they will get processed. At the same time, Canadians know that having a strong process, where we ensure security, ensure that people coming are gonna be able to be successful, is integral to keeping a strong system.”
With the next round of talks over NAFTA set to begin in Mexico later this month, Trudeau used a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Friday to cast the deal as part of a long history between the two countries that has been beneficial for both.
Yet he also echoed frequent criticism from Trump, who has threatened to pull out of NAFTA, that too many workers are being left behind in the global economy.
“We need to collectively do a much better job of ensuring the benefits of trade are shared more broadly,” Trudeau said.
The speech was a centerpiece on his California swing in which he warned Canada won’t be muscled into a trade deal that is unfavorable to his country, while promoting Canada as a destination for California technology firms uneasy with shifting U.S. immigration policy.
After the Friday night speech, a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer who was part of Trudeau’s motorcade crashed and was sent to a hospital with moderate injuries, the Ventura County Fire Department said. The officer suffered a broken clavicle but is expected to be fine, Garcetti told reporters Saturday.
The vehicle carrying the prime minister was not involved and he was not hurt.
Asked by a reporter if the officer’s injury was overshadowing the purpose of his trip, Trudeau said the message that the two countries share close ties has not been lost.
“That emphasis that we are working together for the betterment of our citizens is a message that does continue and does resonate,” he said.
Trump called the 24-year-old agreement a job-killing “disaster” on the campaign trail, and he has threatened to pull out unless the deal requires more auto production in the U.S., while shifting additional government contracts to U.S. companies.
Trudeau argued that the deal has sent benefits both ways across the border. He said nine million jobs in America are tied to trade and investment with Canada and “the truth is that both Canada and the United States are winning. And so is Mexico. And that’s exactly how we should keep it.”
But he added: “President Trump and I agree about this: Too many people have been left behind, even as our economies surged.”
But an agreement, he warned, will take “a willingness to compromise on all sides.”
The location of Friday’s speech carried symbolic weight, alluding to the longstanding trade relationship between the U.S. and Canada. In 1988, Reagan and then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney signed the first free trade agreement — a precursor to NAFTA.
In his speech, Trudeau made repeated references to the historic connections between the two countries and argued that backing away from NAFTA could unspool deep ties across the continent — with an unknown cost.
The liberal Trudeau argued that differing political views need not stand in the way of trade agreement, alluding to the Republican president.
Reaching agreements has always required “persistence and no shortage of sunny, Reagan-esque optimism on both sides,” he said.
Uncertainty over Trump’s immigration policies has provided momentum for Trudeau’s economic pitch to Silicon Valley, where many companies that rely on foreign workers have become uneasy.
On his visit to Northern California this week, Trudeau promoted his country’s fast-track employment permit for certain workers, dubbed the “global skills strategy visa.”
Trudeau also met Thursday with Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos as Bezos considers possible locations for a second headquarters. Toronto, which has created a government-sponsored innovation hub for tech companies, was the only one of several Canadian cities that made the shortlist.
Trudeau’s stop in San Francisco highlighted the already strong ties between Canada and California, particularly in research, academia and technology.
While much of the attention on NAFTA has focused on physical commodities such as vehicle manufacturing, dairy and timber, skilled workers have also become increasingly mobile between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Google built its latest DeepMind artificial intelligence facility at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)